By: Sean Crose
This was a different kind of press conference. Most press conferences for major fights take place in hotels or huge outlets. Not Tuesday’s press conference for September 15th’s Canelo-GGG 2 battle for middleweight supremacy. This particular press conference took place in two separate locations – three, actually, if you included the host’s location. Canelo and his team were seated before a ring in an empty gym in Guadalajara, Mexico. Golovkin and his team were seated before a ring in an empty gym in Big Bear, California. The conference was aired live, via splitscreen, on Facebook.
There was something else different about this press conference, though, especially as it pertained to the fighter’s themselves. Both Canelo and Golovkin are known to be sportsman, professionals who are more serious than they are bombastic. The seriousness was still there on Tuesday for sure, but there was a coldness to the entire affair, which added a chilling air to things. Neither fighter smiled. Neither fighter even attempted to communicate in English. Neither fighter showed much love for the other. What’s more, neither man’s team showed much love for the opposing fighter.
“Less Mexican meat, more Mexican style this time,” GGG promoter Tome Loeffler, generally a soft spoken type, sniped at team Canelo – a clear reference to Canelo stating tainted beef was the reason for the two failed tests that pushed back the GGG rematch from May to September. GGG trainer Able Sanchez suggested that Canelo “bring his courage to the venue that night…if he doesn’t defraud the fans again, he’s going to get knocked out.” As Canelo promoter Oscar De La Hoya claimed: “there’s clearly bad blood.”
De La Hoya, however, wasn’t averse to throwing shots of his own. “All he does is come forward and fight,” he said of GGG’s fighting style, “and that’s it.” After the enormous controversy that came from Canelo’s failed drug test and subsequent suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (which will be over by the time the fight goes down), a notable degree of hostility appears to have seeped through to the fighter’s relationship. “The little respect that we had has been lost,” said Canelo.
The subject of the rematch being different from the first fight was a huge topic of conversation throughout the conference. “I think this fight will be more interesting,” said Golovkin. “Without a doubt it’s going to be a different fight,” Canelo said. “We already know each other. Now we know what we have to do.” Canelo also added that he has “to throw more punches,” this time around. “It will,” he claimed, “be a much better fight than what you would have seen in May.” As Loeffler stated: “Neither side wants it (the rematch) to go to the judges.”
The fact that the first fight ended in a controversial draw has clearly moved each fighter and his team to indicate a more decisive battle is in order for September 15th. “This fight had to be made because we didn’t want to experience another Hagler-Sugar Ray Leonard,” said De La Hoya. “We didn’t want to see Trinidad and myself.” Both fights De La Hoya mentioned had ended controversially, but were not followed up with a rematch. If all sides were able to agree on something, Tuesday, it was that everyone is happy this rematch is happening.
“The negotiations are the negotiations,” said De La Hoya. “The bottom line is we have a fight.” Loeffler stated that: “It was a tough negotiation but at the end of the day both fighters agreed to get in the ring.” The possibility for a more decisive ending is driving the marketing for this rematch, as is the recent hostility that has turned things nasty between the two fighters and their teams. “It’s changed, totally,” said Canelo. “They disrespected me…now it’s different, it’s personal.” Golovkin stated that his team has “a deeper understanding what respect is.”
Still, Golovkin claimed that things might not be permanently strained between he and his rival, Canelo. “At the very end,” he said, “I do feel we’ll find a way to shake each others’ hand. As two men, we should be able to shake each others’ hand.” Before that moment comes, however, there will be a full fight to transpire, a fight heated by rhetoric and ill will. “He’ll walk in with the belts and he’ll leave with the belts,” Loeffler said of his fighter. “Nothing,” Canelo snapped when asked if he had anything to say to GGG. “We’ll see you September 15th.”